Review: Toshiba AT300
‘A solid device with some unfortunate drawbacks’
The Toshiba AT300 is easy to use and easy to handle. With its powerful quad-core processor, on paper it seems as though you wouldn’t need anything more. However, there are a few features of the tablet that would make me apprehensive to take the next step and purchase it…
|Excellent feel in you hands||Vibrates too much|
|Curved gorilla-glass display||Metallic lip that falls over the screen is questionable|
|Ice Cream Sandwich Ready||Auto-rotation slow and frustrating.|
|No on-screen buttons||No 3G Support|
WHAT WE LIKED
The Toshiba AT300 is a well-built piece of hardware. With a NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the device is easy to use and easy to manage. The appearance of the tablet is welcoming yet professional, and drew lots of positive comments about the aesthetics from my peers. Most of them could not believe that it had been made by Toshiba. I honestly loved the look on people’s faces after I told them that the tablet was made by Toshiba – most were surprised at how good the tablet actually was! The back of the tablet feels sturdy and ready to go. I felt like I could just chuck it in my bag and go!
The AT300 is highly functional. It supports a full sized SD card up to 32gb and also has a functional HDMI port, should you feel you need it. The tablet is perfect for those on the run, and allows great functionality for you to upload your photos from the SD card on your camera or any other device you may be using. The functionality of all the buttons was really fantastic – as the edges were square, I didn’t have to turn or lift the tablet to access any of them. This made locking/unlocking the device and the auto-rotate really easy and effortless. It easily manages the most difficult multitasking, and tends to have little-to-no lag when changing between running applications. I found my time using the AT300 to be quite enjoyable in this respect – I didn’t really have to wait too long for heavier games to load, or wait to quit those apps.
The screen is adequately bright – it is easy to view images wherever you are and has a relatively low affinity for fingerprints compared to similar tablets. Honestly, the low affinity for fingerprints was a breath of fresh air – I didn’t spend half the time I was using the tablet to clean the screen of dirt and smudge marks. I took this tablet with me wherever I went, and was easily able to view it under almost all lighting conditions.
Also, the rendering of images and videos was really fast and of great quality – it was enjoyable to watch any HD movies, and the sound from the speakers was loud enough. This tablet is a great crowd pleaser, however there are a few drawbacks…
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
When I first received the tablet, I was told only one thing – ‘it vibrates a lot’. And wow, it really does vibrate a whole heap – maybe even too much. As much as a tried, I couldn’t find how to deactivate the constant, annoying vibrations. The vibrations made it really frustrating to put the tablet onto a hard surface to use – it felt like I had to always hold it.
The AT300 has great functionality and really is designed for people on the go, but they forgot one thing – 3G connectivity. It has every other imaginable extra, with HDMI, a full sized SD card slot and more. But unfortunately to be able to fully enjoy all the features that Toshiba had included, I felt as though it needed 3G.
For such a powerful tablet, I was really surprised how unresponsive the auto-rotate function was. At times, it would almost take 5 seconds for it to realise that I had changed the orientation of the screen (yeah yeah, my first world problems). By the time it actually changed, I had already begun to play the game of shaking and turning the screen into different orientations, at which time it would turn all sorts of ways, but it (eventually) found its way.
Also, it lacked something that, until now, I thought was quite uniform amongst Android devices – a micro USB port. Instead, I was left with a heavy, chunky and almost impractical 42 Pin connector. Really Toshiba?
Whilst I see little use of cameras on tablets, it is worth noting that the camera quality isn’t that great. Firstly, the camera is orientated to the left of the tablet, so it is a little tough, at first, to properly centre your image. Further, the autofocus ability of the camera is quite low – it took a while to properly focus, and it did not seem to like close-up shots very much. Whilst this is not of major concern, I do see the need for this to be improved in the future.
The design of the AT300 is really quite great. It has a solid aluminium back, and a great feeling touch-screen. With this in mind, it did appear as though the metallic lip that came in contact with the screen somewhat took away from what is otherwise really wonderful about the tablet.
The buttons on the edges of the screen were easily accessible and really easy to use. The buttons were all grouped very well, so it made using them easy and convenient. Especially for 10.1-inch tablets, it can often become hard to lock your device simply because of the size. However, the AT300 provided to not be difficult at all in this department.
Smartly designed was also the weight. I found when using the tablet for long periods, my arms would not get sore and holding the tablet was far from ever becoming unbearable. Weighing in at almost 600 grams, I think this is the perfect weight so the tablet is light enough, but voids it of feeling flimsy.
The only real drawback I found were the viewing angles – for me, I found that in larger groups, viewing video was harder than similar devices, simply because some could not see all the colours properly. However, I don’t think one should be too concerned about this – it’s not often you find yourself showing videos to large groups on your tablet.
- Stock with ICS – this is a great, as it ensures that the tablet is (almost) up to date, and makes the user experience much more enjoyable. I really hope this is sign of a soon-to-come update to 4.1 – Jellybean.
- Toshiba’s unadulterated UI – It is always great being able to use a device as Android had intended – and this is exactly what Toshiba have done by including an unobtrusive user interface which is basically non-customised ICS.
- The price tag – Whilst this tablet is not too expensive, at RRP $549, I’m not sure whether a tablet that is not all-inclusive of features will be so viable at such a price, especially when competing against the likes of the Nexus 7.
|Operating System||Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0|
|Processor||NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.5 GHz|
|Screen||10.1”, 1280 x 800 Resolution|
|Camera||5MP Camera, 3MP front-facing|
|Storage||32GB plus SD Card up to 32GB|
|Battery||Li-Po (25Wh), up to 10 hours of video playback|
All in all, the AT300 is good. It has everything you need, and a little extra. But I constantly found myself wanting something more. Something a little bit out there. When I buy any product, I want it to be amazing on first impressions. But, it was not. Unfortunately, I was left with a kind of neutral feeling. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t great either. I really do think this tablet has so much potential. With a beautiful display and a close-to-stock OS, there are no real complaints on my end. If this is a benchmark for Toshiba, I cannot wait to see what they release in the near future. If you do love the 10.1” display, and are looking for a lower-cost tablet, then this is definitely the way to go. There is no doubt in my mind that the Toshiba AT300 can perform any task you may need.